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Officials want to know what to do to promote Hawaiians

Interior Department here for a hearings on reconciliation

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Tuesday, December 7, 1999

By Rod Thompson

HILO -- Federal officials want to know what the U.S. government can dowithin the framework of federal laws to promote the interests ofHawaiians, Mark Van Norman of the U.S. Office of Tribal Justice said today.

Van Norman was beginning the Hilo meeting in a series of hearings onreconciliation of Hawaiians with the federal government 106 years afterthe kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown.

He didn't hear much that fit his request.

Speaker Ron Kaipo urged officials not to follow the model ofJapanese-Americans, who received compensation for the time they spent ininternment camps during World War II.

"It's a buyout. There will be nothing left for our children," he said.

Hannah Reeves, identifying herself as 100 percent Hawaiian, wanted alot of money. "I want $30 trillion," she said.

Harvey Keliikoa wanted the officials to leave. "The best thing is foryou folks to go home," he said.

"The process is, have the old man (President Clinton) come down hereand reinstate our kingdom," he said.

Department of Interior official John Berry said at the beginning of themeeting, "I recognize that apologies for the past and the spirit ofaloha do not excuse injustice."

Kaipo responded with a conciliatory tone. "Please give warm thanks tothe president for his condolences regarding Queen Liliuokalani," he said.

Kihei Soli Niheu was not conciliatory. Wearing a cape and a loincloth,he asked the officials to take a message to President Clinton.

Then he turned and bowed deeply, exposing his nearly bare buttocks tothe officials.

Niheu was one of several people saying Hawaiians are the victims of genocide.

"Today is Dec. 7," said Abraham Kamakawiwoole. "It wasn't our war. Itwas still imperialism."

The actions of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are the same thingthat the Nazis did, he said without further explanation.

Skippy Ioane told the officials they are "the bad guys." The onlyperson who comes close to them is Saddam Hussein who gassed the Kurds inhis Iraq, Ioane said.

Samuel Kaluna said the answer to these problems is a lawful Hawaiiangovernment, unfurling a banner with those words on it.

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